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Ikku Shrine

A large and venerable Shintō shrine in the centre of Niihama where taikodai gather.

Ikku Shrine

Ikku Shrine is a large and venerable Shintō shrine in the centre of Niihama. During the Niihama Taikodai Festival, the taikodai juggernauts gather in the precincts of the shrine. Although it’s located in the centre of the city adjacent to the government office district and along the main road, it has a quiet, verdant atmosphere.

The shrine has a very long approach lined with camphor trees, a large, evergreen tree. This approach is today divided by a road, which passes a short distance in front of the entrance gate. This gate, called the Zuijinmon, is of rather unusual construction. It houses two guardian archers, who look extraordinarily bored.

Within the gate is a large sandy compound with numerous separate shrines dotted around it. In the middle of the compound is a huge camphor tree, which is designated as a national natural monument.

The current main shrine was built in 1705, the hall of worship in 1897, and the hall of offerings after World War II. Checks after the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011, revealed that an earlier local earthquake had damaged pillars in the hall of worship, so it was rebuilt in 2017.

According to the shrine history, it was founded by a descendant of the Imperial Prince Iyo, Ochi no Masumi, during the reign of Empress Suiko. It was the place of prayer for Emperor Saga (809 to 823), the Matsudaira feudal lords of Saijō, and the Mōri clan of Chōshū. The crest on the doors and curtains is of the Kōno clan who built some of the structures. These illustrious patrons are the reason for the shrine’s name, roughly, “No. 1 Shrine”

Information

Name in Japanese: 一宮神社

Pronunciation: ikku jinja

Address: Ikkuchō 1-3-1, Niihama, Ehime 792-0025

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